You love your pup and want to give them their best chance at a long and happy life, that's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our O’Fallon vets explain...
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pooch to stay healthier longer.
Regular visits to the vet give your veterinarian the chance to monitor your dog's general health, search for early disease symptoms (when conditions are most easily treated), and make suggestions for the best preventative products for your canine companion.
Our vets understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road. So, knowing all this, you may be wondering: "when should I take my dog to the vet?"
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your dog's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
If your canine companion is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your pup's first year they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over 16 weeks and will go a long way towards keeping your puppy healthy.
The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 - 7 years old, yearly wellness exams are recommended.
During your adult dog's exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination of your pet to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Additionally, your veterinarian will give your dog any necessary vaccinations, talk with you about your dog's diet and nutritional needs, suggest the best parasite protection, and go over any training or behavioral issues you may be observing.
If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically around 5 years of age.
We advise taking your senior dog to the vet every six months because many canine diseases and injuries tend to be more prevalent in older dogs. All of the checks and recommendations listed above will be included in your senior dog's twice-yearly wellness exams, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to give you more information about your pet's general health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your pet comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior dog, ask your vet how often you should take a dog in for an examination.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.